National Sasquatch Day
For a supposedly “elusive” creature, the not-so-mysterious Sasquatch sure does get a fair share of media attention. News articles, television shows, websites, social media posts … if it involves attention, the ‘Squatch is there to bask in it (from a distance). In fact, Sasquatch sightings have been reported in Southern Colorado as recently as 2023.
There are Sasquatch support groups, Sasquatch hunters and Sasquatch merch: clothing, coffee cups, dish towels and bumper stickers emblazoned with the visage of a mighty ape-like creature. As a cryptid, Sasquatch is not very cryptic. In honor of National Sasquatch Day, we are sharing the history and lore of the sensational simian, plus sharing the details on Sasquatch sightings in the Pikes Peak region.
Bigfoot or Sasquatch?
In North America, Sasquatch and Bigfoot are used interchangeably. In short, they’re the same creature. The name Bigfoot originated in 1958. According to the History Channel, a reporter from Eureka, California published an article about loggers discovering enormous, 16-inch human-like footprints they attributed to a large, mysterious creature they believed was causing all sorts of mischief on-site. The reporter compared the mystery to the lore of the Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas. Thus, the Bigfoot moniker — and an extremely lucrative tourist industry for Eureka — came to life.
The name Sasquatch originates from the Halq’eméylem word sásq’ets. Halq’eméylem is the language of the First Nations peoples of the Pacific Northwest (present-day British Columbia and northern Washington State). The word supposedly means “hairy man,” although some sources include large or tall. Whatever the literal translation, Sasquatch has become the much cooler and way more fun name for anonymous hairy cryptids with a penchant for solitary forest walks. Bigfoot feels more like a nickname when you compare it to a name like Sasquatch. Bigfoot is what the buddies at the bar call the ‘Squatch at Happy Hour. Sasquatch is on the business card. Hence how the Halq’eméylem word became the borrowed word for Bigfoots all around the world.
A Legend Is Born: Origins of Bigfoot
The tale of a giant, hairy man-like creature roaming the landscape is much older than the grainy VHS clips that were so popular in the 1980s. Sightings are also a global phenomenon. Notable outlets like the BBC have spent a not-insignificant amount of time delving into the lore across the pond and sharing somewhat credible stories about alleged encounters with Bigfoot. The wise, crowdsourced repository that is Wikipedia even reports that Bigfoot images have been painted on the walls and ruins where early indigenous peoples once lived. It seems that wherever humans live, there’s always a hairy mystery monster dwelling nearby in the shadows. Bigfoot is a big deal — always has been, always will be.
Notoriety for the creature was greatly enhanced once humans began devising ways to capture images and preserve them. Almost as soon as there were cameras, there were blurry photos of tall, dark and hersuit humanoids peeking out from the trees. Then came the ability to film live-action shots. Suddenly, Bigfoot went from campfire tale to cultural zeitgeist. You have your choice of podcasts, documentaries, books, websites, news articles and midnight AM radio broadcasts with frantically earnest callers.
Where to Find Sasquatch
In North America, Sasquatch likes to hang out in the PNW (Pacific Northwest). Cool temps, lots of water and, most importantly, lots of trees! The ‘Squatch is definitely more of a cold weather cryptid. It makes sense a creature rocking a massive pelt might prefer avoiding prolonged exposure to heat. Sasquatch reports aren’t restricted to Canada, Washington, Oregon and California, however. Maine also has a lot of reports, as do many portions of the northern United States spanning coast to coast. That includes Colorado, if you’re wondering, but more on that shortly.
Across the world, you can find Yetis, Sasquatch’s stark white cousins, living it up (literally) in the Himalayas. A Yeti can also be referred to as the Abominable Snowman. Like Sasquatch, the latter name is more casual. It is a lot scarier than Bigfoot, though.
Located on the Asian continent, the Himalayan mountains are the tallest in the world, with a significant number of peaks clocking in at more than 20,000 feet in elevation. The most famous is Mount Everest, which hits 29,032. High elevation means low temps — perfect for cryptid shenanigans. Yetis seem to have fewer sightings than Sasquatch. We suspect that’s because they blend in better with their environment and because most humans don’t want to live where they can barely breathe. We can’t all be as rad as the Sherpa.
Famous Southern Colorado Bigfoot Sightings
You can find a lot of websites dedicated to cataloging Bigfoot sightings in every possible location. Yes, most of the sites look like they were designed in 1998. However, they offer a wealth of data, including who saw the cryptid and under what circumstances. Here are a few notable “Class A” sightings recorded by the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization:
Teller County Bigfoot Sightings
- In 1977, hikers reported seeing the creature west of Pikes Peak. Since this is designated a Class A sighting, it means the hikers were able to see the creature clearly and identify it as an unknown animal.
- In 1981, the BFRO reports that a miner saw the creature while working the late shift.
- In one of the most credible Teller County reports, a hunting guide saw the cryptid in Pike National Forest in 1998.
El Paso County Bigfoot Sightings
Bigfoot has even deigned to descend to our lower, more populated elevation over the years. In fact, El Paso Country beats Teller County’s Class A sightings 6-5. It’s not much of a lead, but it counts. The BFRO reports a number of sightings around Fort Carson in particular.
- 1986 — Bigfoot was sighted during a nighttime Marine training exercise near Fort Carson. This was likely near the training site located along Highway 115 which means a stray ‘Squatch may have wandered along the Arkansas River and gotten off course.
- Lest you think these reports are the result of soldierly pranks, a trucker reported a Bigfoot sighting in 1999 near Fort Carson. Like the training exercise, BFRO notes the sighting was at night.
- In 2001, BFRO has cataloged a sighting by a tourist on Pikes Peak. Looks like those Bigfoot crossing signs are posted on the Pikes Peak Highway for a reason!
Of the 16 sightings reported across the Pikes Peak region, a whopping 11 have been deemed as very credible, which means this area commands 10% of the Colorado sighting reports. Not too shabby!
How to Celebrate Sasquatch Day
As a holiday that’s meant to be all in good fun, we think it’s important you enjoy it to the fullest.
- Pay a visit to Sasquatch Cookies for a monstrous chocolate chip cookie or a cookie pizza. You can find them parked outside of Red Leg Brewing near the Space Foundation Discover Center or just north of Downtown Colorado Springs off of Jefferson Street.
- Hunt for Sasquatch on Pikes Peak. Remember the tourist who spotted the critter in 2001? You could be the next entry on the list of credible sightings. It won’t hurt that the fall views are beautiful. All those golden leaves make Bigfoot sightings really pop, you know?
- Drink big — with a Bigfoot-themed brew. Beasts and Brews (up north near the Mining Museum) has a Velvet Yeti stout on tap.
- Score Sasquatch merch. If you want to be super cool, you definitely need to represent Bigfoot when you’re out and about. Manitou Springs and Old Colorado City have several Colorado-themes shops with Bigfoot stuff, including Sasquatch Sign Company in Manitou. They’re loaded with unique gifts, especially those covered in Bigfoot silhouettes.
Will we ever see footage of the mysterious Sasquatch? Or will we forever be relegated to blurred photos and the consolation that we will always have Sasquatch Day? With drones and wildlife cameras and doorbell cams, surely we are closer than ever before in the history of mankind. So, keep your eyes wide open while hiking, biking, hunting, fishing and cruising. You may just be the next Class A witness or the first person in history to capture unquestionable footage.